Last night Charles Alexander sent me an email (a tag); he was tagged by Elizabeth Treadwell < http://secretmint.blogspot.com <http://secretmint.blogspot.com/> > (who had earlier been “tagged” by Jessica Smith < http://looktouch.blogspot.com <http://looktouch.blogspot.com/> >) to write 5 things I had learned or gained from feminism.

I’d never been tagged since I was a child playing tag. And I didn’t have a blog, but I’d thought about setting one up for announcements and such. So today I have a blog and below are the two paragraphs I wrote in response to this question.

You can also check out Charles’ response at chaxblog < http://chax.org/blogspot.com <http://chax.org/blogspot.com>

About Feminism —

My grandmother came over on a boat, alone, from Switzerland when she was sixteen years old. I don’t know if feminism gave her this courage or if it was pure guts. My other grandmother had nine children and so so many grandchildren; she rented out rooms and ran the house after her husband died. They were my first feminist models, then the Victorian women writers, then my teachers in the university who would perhaps never have had their jobs without the feminist movement, The Detroit Cass Corridor feminist take-back-the-night girls, Rigaberto Menchu et al, the French feminist writers who aimed to write off key, angling away from phallocentric logic into the feminine, figures and slippage.

If it wasn’t for the feminist movement, perhaps I would not have quit wearing lipstick, started wearing lipstick again, perhaps I would not have given birth to my children at home, perhaps I would not have persisted on continuing my education, perhaps I would not have been hired in the university, perhaps I would not have been able to talk to all the young men and women in my classes about the rights of women and men, perhaps I would not have met my husband or decided to separate from him, perhaps I would not have traveled to Asia, perhaps when I was in the airport in Bangalore and the man asked me, “Where is your husband, your son? Who is taking care of you?” Perhaps I would not have been there and I would not have been able to say—”I am alone, but I am free.”

Mark Wallace on Feminism

Hi Barbara:

Five Things I’ve Learned From Feminism

I could list many more than five no doubt, but here

1) The problems of power are built in to the
instability of pronouns.

2) Too much emphasis is placed on the politics of
speaking and not enough on the politics of listening.

3) It’s easier to feel that you believe in common
ground than it is to actually find that ground.

4) There’s a connection between verbal and physical

5) It’s not enough to reverse the terms; instead,
you’ve got to show that the opposites have always been
part of each other.


New Readings in NYc

Hi Everyone–

Just a note to let you know that I’ll be in NYC area (my daughter Linnee had a baby boy).

Besides visiting her on LI, I’ll be in NYC a bit and reading at two events.

On Saturday the 3rd I’ll be reading with Chris Stackhouse in the Segue Series at the Bowery Poetry Club from 4-6 pm.

For more information, check out this link–

On Thursday the 1st I’ll be reading with other United Artists authors at the 40 Anniversary Party for United Artists. Those reading include —

Barbara Henning
Mitch Highfill
Bill Kushner
Bernadette Mayer
Dennis Moritz
Tom Savage
Harris Schiff
Anne Waldman
Lewis Warsh

music by Legends

The reading and party will be at ACA Gallery, 529 20th Street, 5th Floor from 6-8. For more information, see this link–


Hope to see you.

Gloria Frym’s Solution Simulacra

I wrote the following review of Gloria’s book for the Poetry Project Newsletter, published the issue before last…

Gloria Frym. Solution Simulacra. United Artists Books, 2006

Gloria Frym’s new book of poems Solution Simulacra is a yowl, a scream and a stamping of the foot at the U.S. government and its stupid citizens. Murder, mayhem, destruction and we go on shopping and believing our myths about freedom (“I don’t understand why I can’t buy a burka in the surplus store. Did Milan or Paris get hold of them?”).

Frym opens the book with an overture, looking back on the present as many historians will surely see it: Afghanistan occupied, the US terrorizing it’s own citizens and others, the whole world fracturing into a state of hostility, violence and suicidal activity. And it doesn’t have to be like this. She invokes Emerson: “A rush of thoughts is the only conceivable prosperity that can come to us.” Frym uses all of her poetic tools, repetition, rap, word play, concrete manipulations of the alphabet and symbols in an active engaged response to daily news, reports, overheard conversations, hammering away at those words, fracturing the glib lies and excuses.

Homer’s rosy fingered dawn reappears when the heroes return after ransacking other far off places. But here there are no heroes. “Dawn seemed as though it would never arrive. . . . One’s empire [is] choking. One doesn’t believe one’s president who attends church, his slightly perfumed wife by his side, his daughters stoned out on downers. He read the bible in Cliff’s Notes.. Forgot the past about gluttony as a sin.” (23). She imagines punishing the politicians for catapulting us into a disastrous future.

And we’re standing there like a bunch of dummies. Frym ruminates, “Why should dawn want to face the day, considering its quiet, fragile light? Dawn can’t save one civilization from unraveling, or another from erasing words for a living.” This is a classic Frym move, a spiritual understanding segueing immediately into a political observation. I stand back watching the sun rise and then set again, as humans do what humans are doing. But while I stand here on my porch, shop for groceries, read the newspapers, groups of people are working in think tanks to come up with ways of maneuvering and manipulating the public. “A government goes after an enemy it installed itself” (38). “Frustrated with one’s adversary? Annihilate him. Otherwise one will remain impotent, and that will disturb one’s sleep” (42).

You can put your finger into this book, begin anywhere and experience a type of revelation, the work so witty it might make you laugh, but it’s that kind of laugh that in the next second, hey you’re shaking your head with your tongue stuck in your mouth. “I is mad at I’s country” (68). Yes. Yes.

Day-by-day, poem-by-poem, Frym cracks apart the way we talk and the lies we hear. In the title poem,” Solution Simulacra”, she elaborates on a recipe for empire building.

First, suck all the money out of the house to fashion the haute couture weapons. . . . Color in the sections of the world one would like to have. . . . Demand that first adversary hand over his arms and the arms of all his doubles, and send them Fed Ex. When they arrive, thank him, and demand he do the same with his head and the heads of all his doubles and theirs. When they arrive, have these parts well-photographed in color and printed on the front page of The New York Times and every other medium will follow suit. Eliminate the text. No one wants to read seventeen pages about reasons. Reading is treason in a simulated solution. (42)

Solution Simulacra is cathartic, as well as an exposé. This book should be required reading in as many college and high school lit and poetry classes as possible. Then there might be a chance that some folks might actually start to read the world and the word as the great Brazilian educator Paul Freire advocated, their thoughts and dialogue rushing in between Gloria Frym’s sharp analytic thought twisting poems. Maybe then dawn could come sooner with a lot less grief.

A beautiful poem by Maureen Owen

Today I am rereading Maureen Owen’s book Erosion’s Pull. Every time I read the poem I’m typing below, I take a deep breath — yes, that’s it, exactly how it is sometimes … Saint Maureen Thank you.

Now This Vague Melancholy

Now this vague melancholy adores     me

of hours spent in your facade

it’s best described as she can

if she could     likewise bitterly

since the forecast dented

with     our dinner window cut in two

    , as if her life

her life dissolving

in what had been ageed

not to tell to one another

what was     is the danger

the story of the stories

And     this melancholy.

if then we couldn’t stretch the seams

of our need     while being chatty

we could discuss

                  long into noted

all else

sweet melancholy     dished

each by itself     into a darker     ness

where the hangover begins before midnight

& I could talk to you forever

for no good reasons science could explain

for we are two of repelling cogs

set in their motion fast by some diligent

terrain rising flat as the prairie

as a word     I fell in love with you     then

with a word   can such a thing be done

because of a word     you said     Nebrska

& all the chairs drew back their doors

& all the floors burst into flame

& in the night a single fire swept

swept through it all     &     I woke kneeling on

charred ground     & it was as the saint


Upcoming events

I’m teaching a class at the Poetry Center in Tucson on the Prose Poem , Tuesdays, for 8 weeks, beginning March 6th.
I’m teaching a yoga class at 5:30 on Fridays at Yoga Flow on Cherry and Fort Lowell

Cynthia Hogue & Brent Cunningham are reading at El Ojito Springs
Center for Creativity at 452 S. Stone Ave. (at 15th St.) in Tucson on Saturday the 17th at 7 pm

Gloria Frym, Tory Foster and Anna Fulford reading at Cushing Street Bar and Grill in Tucson at 8 pm on Tuesday the 20th of March.

I’m reading in Bisbee at the Central School Project on Friday March 23rd at 7:30.

Harryette Mullen comes to Tucson on the 27th of March and reads on the 31st at 5 pm at St. Andrews Church in Tucson. She’s giving a paper at 10 am on the 31st for the Arizona Quarterly.

Then on April 7th Rodney Phillips (New Yorker!) and Cynthia Hogue will read at 7 pm.
Then on April 14th Frank Parker will read and we’ll celebrate and support him.

Then on the 1st of May I’m driving bck to NY for a couple of months to teach a class there (and hang out with family and friends)

My schedule in Tucson is busier than it was in NYC!

Tyrone William’s next book

I read the manuscript for Tyrone’s new book, I loved it. Backwater’s Press out of Omaha Nebraska will be publishing it.

Tyrone Williams
Hero Project of the Century

This is a brilliant book. In these new poems, Tyrone Williams slants away from definition and memoir, teasing us with a detail or an anecdote and then slipping names, slipping markers, the news, tradition, religion, art and history unravel into dualities, redundancies, shadows, veils, slights of hand. In Hero Project of the Century, Williams reveals the news we need to hear. The American chasing after the big S Capital Self is a project that can never be fulfilled. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but after the clapping is over, there is this empty space and Williams, like an abstract jazz musician, has taken us there, deftly, cutting through the terrain of emotion and intellect.

Audios on the line

At Frank’s Home (http://frankshome.org), Frank Parker just posted an audio file of my reading at Dinnerware Gallery in Tucson on November 18, 2006. You can hear me reading with his choreography at


Also, I recently discovered another audio recording from a reading at Left Hand Books in Boulder in 2002
Scroll down to April 19, 2002

Thanks Frank, Laura Wright and all–

My Autobiography

On March 14th, Charles Alexander sent me the following email about my new book “My Autobiography”–

a book (for barbara)

a book on its side on top of my bookshelf
about six feet high its spine exposed looking
at me

do you have 999 books with a corner cut away
so that the books now have five edges instead
of four

can the books balance on their fifth edge pre
cariously or not can a book be unbalanced
can we

unbalance the space of the book the space
of our habitation are you in the book can I
find you

can a book unbalance will the words spill out
from the pages or perhaps recombine themselves
to rebalance

steel comes to mind is there a place for steel
here not steal this book but book of steel like
man of steel

or steel curtain or we steel ourselves against
the onslaught we cut off our corners and balance
on edge

charles alexander / chax press

From Harris Schiff’s Reading at the Poetry Project Last Week

I wasn’t in NYC last week for Harris Schiff’s reading, but I read the poems and here’s one I really l ike —

It was great to be young in the twentieth century
before Dracula threw down the prison mesh grid over the world


Fight the war and warming conglomerate

today I don’t have to shave and dresss for scuzzy job
they subway ride
or abuse

I make poems and be

funky in April chill baby baseball season

amused stead of so damn serious so worried

one more season of discomfort in the latitutde